Whether it is Rageb Alama or Afroto! We Got The Playlist For You!


Whether it is Rageb Alama or Afroto! We Got The Playlist For You!

posted on: Mar 27, 2024

By: Malak Hassouna / Arab America Contributing Writer 

Music bonds us all. Arabic music shows the rich diversity of the Arab world. In recent years, Arabic pop and rap music have received much-needed international recognition, making it simpler than ever to listen to and discover more Arabic music. It has also changed in significant ways worldwide. Now, we have artists taking it to world stages performing in Arabic, English, and French (like Saint Levant and Elyanna). Still, we also see more artists touring worldwide singing fully in Arabic, like Wegz, Ruby, Hamaki, and many more. With this evolution, we start to see people come together to celebrate this, but we also see people stick to one genre or the other. Join me as we drive down my favorite playlist, which is perfect for a long drive with every generation of your family. 

First, I want to talk about the amazing video that came out in 2016 by Alaa Wardi. It showed his take on the evolution of Arabic music, looking at everything from Egyptian music to Magrebi music and its developing nature. I don’t think there was an Arab groupchat that did not reshare this video. 

Ok now we can dive into the music. First on the playlist is known to be “The voice of Lebanon,” none other than Fariuz’s sensational song “Al Bosta”. I can not tell you the number of times I played this with my mom while driving down the North Coast or the Pacific Coast Highway. The song brings great nostalgia and shows incredible range in her vocals. On that same note, how can we forget her “Ya Saher El Layali,” which was featured in the movie “Saher Al Laiali,” the Egyptian romance that took over 2003? 

If you ask me, Arabic is the most romantic language. Just think about how many ways we have to say “I love you” or “My dear.” One of the first songs that came to mind was none other than Abdel Halim Hafez’s “Ahwak.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Od6LJhVvNOI 

Now let’s take it to the early 2010’s who can forget Nancy Ajram’s “Ebn El Geran”. Bringing the boy next door love story to a new level. Keeping it on the same note with another Lebanese Artist bringing us the most incredible love song of all time. Ragheb Alama’s “Nasini El Donia.” I remember not wanting to listen to these songs as a kid, but now I can listen to them with my family, which we can both enjoy. 

Shifting gears from the early 2010, let’s look at some of today’s hits. The song that took over our TikTok and summer was led by Nawal in “Mekhasmak,” the red hair and sparkly jumpsuit that is essential on every playlist. 

Another hit song that has been on a loop from summer until now is by Ahmed Saad. He has taken the Arab world by storm, from headlining the Formula 1 race in Jeddah in 2023 to dropping the most hits in his career in the last couple of years. “Ekhtayaraty” is to be sung anywhere, as are “El Youm El Helw Da” and “Wasa3 Wasa3”

  Umm Kulthum was more than a singer marking Egyptian history forever; her career spanned over 50 years. Kulthum is a national hero in Egypt, known as “The Voice of Egypt” and “Egypt’s Fourth Pyramid.” We must pay our respects to Umm Kulthum’s “Alf Leila We Leila.”  Umm Kulthum is the person my grandparents grew up with, and she is still in our ears. Recently, she has been trending photoshopped images of her doing things that we do today. 

https://www.instagram.com/sard.visuals/p/Cxr-KBNKaAv/?ref=159&hl=am-et&img_index=1

The next few will be the underground types of music, from trap and rap to Mahgragant. There has been an up-and-coming trap/ rap moment in the Arab world, steering away from Mahragant, which had its moment a few years ago. Mahraganat, born on Soundcloud and YouTube, is from Medinat al-Salam, one of Cairo’s poorest neighborhoods. One of the songs now played at every wedding is “Mahragan Bent El Geran” and “Ehwaty”. Seems to cheer people up no matter what. 

Going into the trap/ rap scene, some of the favorites have been up and coming from Abo El Anwar to Wegz to Marwan Moussa and Marwan Pablo. Here are a few of my favorite songs by them: 

  1. Ouu Ouu” by Abo El Anwar
  2. Scoo Scoo” by Abo El Anwar 
  3. Blanco” by Abo El Anwar Ft. Husyan 
  4. Brazil” by Afroto Ft. Marwan Moussa 
  5. Hustla” by Wegz 

Just to name a few, but if you want a whole Trap/ Rap playlist, here is mine. Range from underground to mainstream: https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/trap-rap/pl.u-ZmblD1jilK6yGA

We can not have a playlist without Amr Diab old and new. Some of my favorites by him are “Ya Gamal Elyon”, “Nour El Ein”, “Tamally Maak”, and “El Leila”. 

Some songs that I think are underrated, to be completely honest, are anything by Sharmoofers. They have been in the game for more than a decade and still have bangers, from their first one, “Khamsa Santy,” to “Diva.” They have a unique sound that gets you up on your feet. 

I’m missing a hundred more, but I hope everyone in your family can enjoy at least one song here. Find my everyday playlist here https://music.apple.com/us/playlist/arabic-songs/pl.u-RRbV02RuD0ldWE

What are your favorite songs? 

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